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Seeking co-conspirators for Saturday's conventions

by: Tomtech

Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 11:43 AM CDT

I am pushing a couple of resolutions this year and hope some of the Texas Progressive Alliances' bloggers would be willing to share them with their friend who are going to Saturday's county conventions.

Complete Election Consolidation Act

Indigent Health Care Improvements Act

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 137 words in story)

After the Storm: The Way Forward for Texas Democrats

by: liberaltexan

Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 09:29 PM CST

A week after Election Day and it feels like the storm surge completely washed away the Texas Democratic Party. While on Election Day nationally Democrats had bright spots and rays of hope, in Texas it was completely dark and there were no rays of sunshine breaking through the clouds. After spending years on electoral strategy and millions of dollars on campaigns, Texas Democrats are probably at their lowest point in since the Civil War. Every single statewide office is held by a Republican, from the Governor's mansion on down. Republicans have a near super majority in the State House of Representatives, and hold more seats than at any time since Reconstruction. While Republicans do not hold a super majority in the State Senate procedural rules give them significant power, and much of the controversial legislation that was blocked by Democrats in the House during the last session was originally passed by the Senate. Make no doubt about it: Republicans are in complete control and there is not a damn thing Democrats can do about it.

There has been a significant amount of analysis of the election, and inquiry into how Republicans where able to make such significant gains and why Democrats where unable to compete. First it must be realized that this election did not happen in a vacuum, and there where several factors at work besides the candidates themselves. National politics played a significant role in the election in Texas, as across the nation Democrats took the brunt of the electorates' dissatisfaction with the economy. Despite the Republican establishment implicit involvement in the collapse of the economy, voters turned against the party in power because of persistently high unemployment. Strait ticket voting for Republicans trickled down the ballot and impacted the outcome of every election in Texas. Governor Rick Perry was also able to effectively determine the terms of the choice in the election, as the 10 year incumbent was able to paint himself as an outsider and paint Bill White as connected to Washington, D.C.

More Below the Fold...

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 673 words in story)

The Death of the 50 State Strategy

by: David Mauro

Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 03:33 PM CST

That's what Chris Bowers of OpenLeft says the DNC, under the new leadership of Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, is planning.

During the festivities here in D.C., I ran into a source close to the transition at the DNC who was able to provide an update on the new outlines of the DNC strategy, which does diverge from the current form of the fifty-state strategy in multiple ways:

  1. Increasing Centralization: The shift in resources away from paid media and toward on the ground organizers will continue. However, these resources will be more directly controlled by the DNC itself, rather than by state parties. In other words, the SPP program where the DNC pays for organizers chosen by the state parties themselves is, as previously reported, done. Instead, the DNC will likely hire and assign organizers themselves. State party grants will also likely be transformed into more centrally directed expenditures by the DNC.
  2. More swing state, less fifty-state: Many, if not most, states will have more resources spent on them during the next four years than during the previous four years. In addition to increasingly centralized control over how these resources are spent, there will also be a return to a swing-state focus for 2012. However, it is important to keep in mind that the Obama campaign's version of a swing state strategy was broader than either the Gore or Kerry incarnations.
In short, the DNC will be moving away from the long-term, decentralized, fifty-state strategy of Howard Dean's tenure, and toward serving as a short-term, centralized re-election effort for President Obama in 2012.  It will continue the move away from paid media ushered in by Howard Dean, maintain or increase the amount of resource expenditures in most states, and the number of states it targets will be a broader effort than the narrow focus we saw in 2001-2004 (but more narrow than 2005-2008). However, it will return to the traditional role of the DNC as a supplement for the sitting President's re-election campaign, rather than as the long-term, localized institution building operation that is was from 2005-2008.

The fifty-state strategy of 2005-2008 is going to be replaced with the "re-elect President Obama" strategy of 2009-2012. Both have their advantages, but I still consider firing the 200 state party organizers a real blow to the long-term development of local Democratic Party talent and infrastructure.

Obviously planning for the re-election of President Obama is important, but investing in an aggressive Fifty State Strategy like the one Howard Dean has implemented is an investment towards Democratic victories in 2010, 2012, and beyond.

Some of us had reservations when the Obama campaign moved volunteers out of Texas, but overall I think the Obama team really understood the upside of the Fifty State Strategy. Unlike the 2004 campaign of John Kerry, Obama's campaign seemed to get "it."

The change in attitude that came to the DNC with Dean's January 2005 election helped Obama win in places like North Carolina, Virginia, and Indiana.

Since Dean took over at the DNC, Democrats have won U.S. Senate and House races in many areas not traditionally friendly to Democrats. As Gov. Dean said on Morning Joe yesterday, the 2006 elections, which included Democratic Senate pickups in Montana, Virginia, Missouri and Ohio, "gave our strategy credibility."

So what exactly happened to justifty getting rid of the 50 State Strategy?

Back in November, when Rahm Emanuel was named Obama's Chief of Staff, I wrote that the development was not good for the future of the 50 state strategy.

It is unclear of course what influence, if any, Emanuel (who I still believe is a great pick for CoS) had in killing the strategy of Dean. The two had many disagreements over 50 state vs. swing state issues when Emanuel served as Chairman of the DCCC.

It is not all gloom and doom though. Bowers makes a good point that Obama's swing state strategy is significantly broader than that of Gore or Kerry. 

If Texas Democrats can continue to make progress and win a few statewide offices in 2010, perhaps there is a chance we can end up on the swing state list. If we do, there will be a lot of people to thank. Howard Dean will be one of them.

Discuss :: (10 Comments)

Remember Obama-Biden Volunteer David Paul Leibson - Died 11-7-08

by: ken78724

Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 09:18 PM CST

We celebrated a victory David Paul Leibson just as he did and tomorrow we remember him in his unexpected death of 11-7-08 at a pot luck to be held tomorrow 11-14-08 7 PM.
This Obama-Biden volunteer's memorial will be held at First UU Church. We say "Thanks David!" Your hard work and volunteer spirit and your newly published book, which arrived from the publisher 11-8-08 will now be read in appreciation for the man, the musician and the fun you brought to your friends and fellow volunteers working at the Party Headquarters.
Farewell David, respectfully, Kenneth Koym, Psychotherapist


Discuss :: (0 Comments)

The Future of the 50-State Strategy

by: David Mauro

Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 08:10 PM CST

With Howard Dean set the leave the DNC after a successful four-year term in January, the next Chair will have an important decision to make: whether to continue the "Fifty State Strategy" that Dean put in place beginning in 2005.

Firedoglake is reporting that many of the DNC state organizers -- of which Texas has three, according to the TDP website -- will be let go at the end of the month.

For those of us who have advocated for the 50-state strategy, this is not good news.

My hope is that the next DNC Chair believes that Democrats should compete in every community in America. The next chair will presumably be hand-picked by Obama and, while I haven't heard many names thrown around yet, I think Obama would be wise to consider David Plouffe, his campaign manager.

Plouffe seems to understand the importance of expanding the map for Democrats. He would make a great chairman.

Of course, as Firedoglake points out, the new Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is a long time opponent of the Fifty State Strategy. What effect, if any, he will have on the DNC remains to be seen.

Who do you want to be the next DNC Chair?

Update: According to Marc Ambinder, David Plouffe has said he is not under consideration for DNC Chair.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

DNC Credentials Challenge Aims to Abolish Texas Two-Step

by: David Mauro

Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 02:12 PM CDT

Fort Worth lawyer Jason Smith has filed a credentials challenge with the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee. Smith says the Texas plan for delegate selection is not in accordance with DNC rules.

From the Star-Telegram:

[The Texas Two-Step] is counter to a DNC rule requiring that delegate selection "fairly reflects" the presidential preference of primary voters, Smith said.

Hillary Clinton won the primary vote in Texas but Barack Obama did better in the precinct caucuses. Texas delegates going to the national convention are split 99 for Obama and 94 for Clinton.

Texas Democratic Party spokesman Hector Nieto said the state's delegate allocation plan was approved by the DNC.

Smith said he's not filing the challenge in some last-ditch bid to boost Clinton. Rather, he wants to see an end to the so-called Texas Two-Step. He estimated that Clinton would gain six delegates if the state's delegation were altered to reflect the results of the Texas primary.

"This isn't anti-Obama," Smith said. "This is anti-caucus process."

Complaints about Texas' crowded and chaotic primary process have spurred the state party to launch a committee to recommend changes.

The petition to end the Texas Two-Step was signed by well over 2,000 people at the State Democratic Convention in Austin earlier this month. While Smith's challenge probably does not have much of a chance, there is certainly a lot of concern and interest in this issue across the state.

To have a worthwhile debate, however, we will have to move beyond our past presidential preferences. Even if you support Barack Obama, you can oppose the two-step process; and even if you supported Hillary Clinton, you can support it.

The decision of how (and if) to change the current process should not be about rehashing the political battles of the past. Instead, it should be about insuring we have a system that truly "fairly reflects" the will of voters from across the state.

Discuss :: (62 Comments)

Burnt Orange Report to Report County Convention Results

by: Burnt Orange Report

Thu Mar 27, 2008 at 03:00 PM CDT

Dear Readers,

We are pleased to announce that we at Burnt Orange Report will be reporting the results of this weekend’s county and senate district conventions. We will be partnering with the campaigns of both Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama – with the support of the Texas Democratic Party and countless county and local party leaders – to provide you the most accurate, up-to-date vote totals of this weekend’s extraordinary process.

This is an extraordinary opportunity for our community to demonstrate the virtue and value of a people-powered movement.

Here’s how it will work:

  1. On Saturday, March 29, thousands upon thousands of Texas Democrats will attend their county conventions across the state. As those conventions wrap-up their delegate selection process, individuals from the convention will submit the delegate-totals through a number of methods (read below). We are anticipating representatives from each campaign, as well as County Chairs, to submit totals.

  2. We have built a delegate tracking database. We will keep a running tally of each county convention with the number of Clinton and Obama delegates elected to the state convention in June. Based upon the county results, we will project the estimated number of national delegates earned by each campaign. 

  3. As soon as we can verify information, we will report the results. All we ask is your patience – many larger conventions are expected to run late into Saturday evening. Even if it takes until Sunday or Monday, our top priority is that any results reported are accurate.

How to Submit the Results of Your County Convention

There are three ways you can submit the results of your county convention:

  1. An online submission form - Click here to submit results online.

  2. E-mail – Individuals with accurate figures may send the results to results@burntorangereport.com.

  3. Phone – If you do not have internet access, or would rather talk to a real human being, Burnt Orange Report writers David Mauro and Phillip Martin have agreed to receive call-in results. If you do choose to call-in the results, please leave a brief phone message stating who you are, your role at the convention (County Chair, Secretary, Obama/Clinton supporter, etc.) and the total number of delegates for each candidate.

Please help us spread the work about our efforts this weekend, and enjoy the convention process. Support your candidate, learn about the process, and remember that – above all else – it’s a proud day to be a Democrat!


The Staff of Burnt Orange Report

Discuss :: (10 Comments)

A Note on Winning & Losing Campaigns

by: Karl-Thomas Musselman

Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 00:30 AM CST

The broader point of this entry is inspired by this user submitted post. Before I do, I need to correct an insinuation that was made in it towards at Burnt Orange Report. I've removed the following from the header of the post because it's wrong and given this correction, irrelevant, but I'll quote it below so everyone is on the same page on this one.

[Note:  Apparently, among the "few" posts that BOR was "forced" to delete because of heavy internet traffic was the only report on the results of the Tax Collector's race.  That was a strange computer problem you had; one that was solved only by purging bad news about BOR-guy Glen Maxey. So I'll repost this one in case its deletion was just a coincidence.]

In the first post I made after the election, I noted that our record breaking traffic took its toll on the site and I even apologized that in bringing various components back online, posts in the notes and the journals sections that had been made while they were disabled, might have been lost on the server in the process. I'm not sure how I can make that much clearer seeing as I already wrote about it on the front page and apologized to anyone who it may have affected pre-emptively. If it's an honest mistake or not on behalf of the writer, I really don't care because it's incorrect, and now everyone knows. (again) And if your posts were eaten, too, I'm sorry! (again!)

Ok, that said, on to the real point of this entry of mine.

I read the rest of that post- (and given the title it was given, I assume it was the same post made when the journals were disabled.)  It seems we need to have a collective conversation about winning & losing campaigns and use this as a teachable moment.

I know there are a lot of primary campaigns in town from the judicial and constable contests to the countywide races to HD-46 and TX-10, in which both sides had some pretty aggressive and rough and tumble races during this primary.

All of those races (minus the DA and Constable Pct 1 contests) are over.

After an election we all make an attempt to grow back together for the general election. Why? Because we are Democrats. In any given primary election, our candidates may have won or lost and what was said was said in the campaign and what was done was done in the campaign.

But that's the key point- it was done in the campaign.

I expect campaigns to be messy. Democracy is messy. And in all honesty, it's waaay messier in other places in this state not called Travis County. What we consider 'rough politics' in Austin campaigns is kind of lame in comparison to the arc of 'rough politics' in campaigns through our state's history and those experienced in other urban centers.

But after a campaign is over, it's over.

There is a separation that I self-learned from day one that the process and politics of campaigns needs to be separated from the personalities and people involved in them. In even the last 5 years in Austin alone, we could probably count dozens of instances where the largest political enemies of one election, would end up forming some of the strongest political alliances in the next.

That's possible, healthy, and required our political system. And it's made possible, not because of what happens during a campaign, but maybe more importantly, in what happens after Election Day.  

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 424 words in story)

2007 Texan of the Year: The House Leadership

by: Phillip Martin

Fri Dec 14, 2007 at 11:30 AM CST

Ed. note: The Texas Progressive Alliance is proud to announce the House Leadership team of State Rep. Jim Dunnam, State Rep. Garnet Coleman, and State Rep. Pete Gallego as our 2007 winner for Texan of the Year.

Texans of the Year

There may not be another three individuals who have done more for Democrats in the state of Texas over the past four years than Rep. Jim Dunnam, Rep. Garnet Coleman, and Rep. Pete Gallego. Together, they have led the fight for the resurgence of the Texas Democratic Party. Every day is another story.  They fought through the 2006 elections, and then they fought for the months leading up to the first day of session. They led the fight against Speaker Craddick in the final days of the session, and are now poised to add to the Democratic gains in the House as they continue their roles as Co-Chairs of the House Democratic Campaign Committee.

Their work together is imperative to the continued progress of Democrats in Texas, but it's their individual efforts that really demonstrate how this leadership team makes the best of one another for the good of all Texans. Here is a brief highlight of what each of these leaders did over the past year:

Jim DunnamState Rep. Jim Dunnam

In 2003, we had a mere 62 members in the House in 2003. Today, there are 70, including State Rep. Kirk England who announced his intentions to switch parties and run as a Democrat next cycle. In only 5 years, there was full frontal attack on Speaker Craddick's ability to lead, launched by one question by the Waco Democrat: "Mr. Speaker, what is the process of removing the Speaker of the Texas House?" His mastery of the House rules is incredible to watch.

During the 80th Regular Session, Rep. Jim Dunnam led efforts to clean up the mess Governor Perry and the Republican leadership made at the Texas Youth Commission. He worked with Rep. Coleman and Rep. Gallego to lead the fight against expanding new tax cuts for the richest 10% of Texans at the expense of health care and education opportunities for Texas families. He passed numerous bills for his district, but he will forever be remembered for the efforts he made on the House floor, challenging the absolute power of Speaker Craddick.

Garnet ColemanState Rep. Garnet Coleman

Rep. Garnet Coleman is one of the most progressive members of the Texas House. Rep. Coleman filed over sixty piece of legislation, including (1) legislation end tuition deregulation, (2) legislation to overturn the ban on gay marriage, (3) legislation to prevent the construction of any new toll roads anywhere in the state of Texas. But beyond these strong policy positions, he successfully passed legislation to expand health care opportunities for former foster children and double the funding for cancer research. He continued his fight to fully restore CHIP -- an effort he's worked for ever since Speaker Craddick and his allies cut hundreds of thousands of kids off of health care since 2003.

Beyond his legislative work, Rep. Coleman is the top fundraiser for Texas Democrats, and is well-known for his non-stop efforts in supporting House Democrats across the state. He chairs the Legislative Study Group, which received a Silver Star award from the TPA for its incredible policy work.

Pete GallegoState Rep. Pete Gallego

Rep. Pete Gallego is the chair of of the largest bipartisan legislative caucus in the Texas House-- the Mexican American Legislative Caucus. He also sits on the national board of NALEO. He was a top lieutenant for Speaker Pete Laney, and his trust from that better time in the Texas House allows him to remain as one of the most trusted members in the Texas House.

His policy issues are far-reaching, and can range from helping protect our state's natural resources to preventing those horrid voter ID bills behind the scenes. Rep. Gallego also helped temper some of the more controversial issues of the session, including immigration and security.

Rep. Gallego often makes waves quietly inside the Capitol, but his efforts help thousands of Texans from all walks of life. Together, Rep. Gallego, Rep. Dunnam, and Rep. Coleman are extremely deserving for our 2007 Texan of the Year award.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Texas Progressive Alliance Gold Stars: Rick & Melissa Noriega and Denise Davis

by: Phillip Martin

Fri Dec 14, 2007 at 08:00 AM CST

Ed. note: This year, in addition to recognizing its Texan of the Year (which will come this Friday), the Texas Progressive Alliance elected to recognize a number of other Texans who have contributed to Texas politics and the Progressive cause during 2007.

Rick & Melissa NoriegaRick and Melissa Noriega. These two Houston Democrats could easily be called Texas' new Political Power Couple. Melissa Noriega made news early this year with her run for the Houston City Council seat vacated by Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, who resigned the seat to assume the last six weeks of former Congressman Tom DeLay's term in 2006. Through a special election, a runoff, and a general election battle to win the seat for a full term, Melissa Noriega's progressive message endeared her to Houston voters, earned her statewide media recognition, and helped mark her as part of a new generation of progressive leaders with statewide potential.

Rick Noriega's story is one that is also well known. A veteran of the "War on Terror," Rick Noriega started generating buzz early in 2007 as a number of progressive Netroots activists and bricks-and-mortar Democratic activists created a movement to "draft" Noriega into the Democratic Party's race for United States Senate. Rick Noriega answered the call to service and threw his hat into the ring to take on John Cornyn and the Texas Republican machine in the 2008 election in spite of the fact that he could have easily won reelection to his seat in the Texas Legislature or even run for another office where the fight would have been small to none. Instead, he had the courage to stand up for all Texans and say enough is enough.

A true people-powered candidate, Rick Noriega, along with Melissa Noriega, have both made significant sacrifices to serve the people of Texas. For this and many other reasons, the Texas Progressive Alliance is pleased to recognize Rick and Melissa Noriega among its 2007 Gold Stars.


Denise DavisDenise Davis. Few stories this year enthralled the politically inclined among us this year like the ongoing turmoil in the Texas House of Representatives. From the Speaker's race at the onset of the 80th Legislative Session to Rep. Pat Haggerty's call for members who wanted to remove House Speaker Tom Craddick to take the keys to their voting machines and follow him out of the chamber at the end of the session, this year was a watershed moment in Texas political history.

While there were many, many, elected officials who deserve (and, indeed, will receive) recognition and historical remembrance for the parts they played in the pageant of chaos that was the 80th Texas Legislature, one other individual--who happens not to be an elected official--also deserves to be recognized for the role she played in the unprecedented drama. Denise Davis, the former Parliamentarian of the Texas House of Representatives was never an uncontroversial figure. Throughout her tenure--which lasted for nearly three sessions--some Democrats privately criticized Davis for some of her rulings and believed her to be an unrepentant loyalist to House Speaker Tom Craddick.

That changed near midnight on May 25, 2007 when Denise Davis walked out of the Parliamentarian's Office and into the pages of history. Around 9 .m. that night, after House Democratic Leader Jim Dunnam attempted to get Craddick to recognize a motion to vacate the chair, Craddick walked off the dais and left the House in utter chaos, 'adjourned' until 11 p.m. What happened in the interim to some degree remains a blur, although one thing is clear: Parliamentarian Denise Davis (and her deputy, Chris Griesel) resigned, and House Speaker Tom Craddick appointed two enforcer-thugs to take their place. Denise Davis departed House Speaker Tom Craddick's service that night rather than legitimize his dictator-like hold over the Texas House.

It is a move that took courage, because the full weight of Craddick's office--in attempts to keep her quiet about what happened in those last days--came down upon her and demanded she say nothing about her tenure publicly. While Davis, for her own reasons, has not spoken about what happened in those last days and hours of her tenure, one thing is sure: when the history of the 80th Legislature is written, amidst the legislators who will occupy the pages of the texts that tell this story, there will be one other person whose part will be recognized, and that person will be Denise Davis--for her courage.

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